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While working in afield in Sproge, Hugo Kraft, a farmer from
Hemse, uncovered in the so-called Mastermyr at a depth of 1/2
aln (c. 30 cm) a copper cauldron, an oak chest containing all
manner of iron goods, chains, axes, sledge-hammers,
hammers, saws, and also including a steelyard of fine workmanship,
I believe gold-plated, several keys, art-work, a
smith's tongs, several boring-bits etc. etc. Everything together
weighing at least 40 kg.
No fragments of iron or organic
material, which could have been associated with the
find, were collected on this occasion nor was the site
marked or its position fixed.
After Jacobsson (a local historian who reported the find - OP) had made his report, Kraft maintains that
two or three gentlemen came from Visby in a car belonging
the late Bengt Hansson of Halldings, Hemse. They sifted the
soil and looked for more objects.
several of the heavy tools (sledge hammers,
hammers and axes) had traces of wood in the haftholes.
These wood fibres are in some cases not visible after
conservation. The small size of the chest makes it less
likely that all the tools placed there had complete handles.
It would also be remarkable if such heavy hafts
were not preserved while much thinner handle fragments
on smaller objects remain (e.g. the key no. 3, the
saw no. 42 and the (?) scribing tool no. 97).
It is difficult to determine the proportion of usable
tools and of damaged tools and scrap-iron. Of the edgetools,
about 30 % have undamaged edges and complete
haft-holes or tangs. The cauldrons and the bells may
have been incomplete and were certainly not new, and
this is also the case with the fire-grid and the griddle,
which are not only defective but show signs of repair.
The damage to the steelyard, however, could be due to
rough handling when it was found.
Skallagrim was a good iron-smith, and in winter wrought much in red iron ore. He had a smithy set up some way out from Borg, close by the sea, at a place now called Raufar-ness. The woods he thought were not too far from thence. But since he could find no stone there so hard or smooth as he thought good for hammering iron on (for there are no beach pebbles, the seashore being all fine sand), one evening, when other were gone to sleep, Skallagrim went to the sea, and pushed out an eight-oared boat he had, and rowed out to the Midfirth islands. There he dropped an anchor from the bows of the boat, then stepped overboard, and dived down to the bottom, and brought up a large stone, and lifted it into the boat. Then he himself climbed into the boat and rowed to land, and carried the stone to the smithy and laid it down before the smithy door, and thenceforth he hammered iron on it. That stone lies there yet, and much slag beside it; and the marks of the hammering may be seen on its upper face, and it is a surf-worn boulder, unlike the other stones that are there. Four men nowadays could not lift a larger mass. Skallagrim worked hard at smithying, but his house-carles grumbled thereat, and thought it over early rising. Then Skallagrim composed this stave:
'Who wins wealth by iron
Right early must rise:
Of the sea's breezy brother
Wind-holders need blast.
On furnace-gold glowing
My stout hammer rings,
While heat-feeding bellows
A whistling storm stir.'
originally posted by: Hanslune
a reply to: skalla
Very interesting I had run across this before in regards to the Visby battle site skeletons.
Oh and one point there is an easy way to tests the quality of a blade, you take two blade put about foot apart and bring them together; not at full swing but fairly gently, the superior blade will nick the inferior one while itself is unmarred.
edited to add: oops meant to put this as a comment to the actual sword thread - but it applies in a way!